Before I get to what I thought of Nintendo’s last huge release of 2011, a little context might help to understand how I view the series of The Legend of Zelda as a whole. The first three games my family had for the Nintendo Entertainment System were (of course) Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt, Lifeforce, and The Legend of Zelda. At the time Zelda was too daunting for five year-old me, but it was an amazing game to watch my brother and Papa play. I remember borrowing Zelda II: The Adventure of Link from a friend and being confused by the change in game play but impressed nonetheless with the world it created. Then I rented and played through The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, which became one of my favorite games of all time. I’ve owned, played, and loved just about every proper Zelda game since then (yes, I’m excluding the Phillips CD-I games as well as the LCD handhelds) – and I literally received The Minish Cap in the mail last Saturday. The Zelda series represents to me what video games can be when enough thought are put into them. Ultimately, Zelda games are puzzles requiring the player figure out almost everything, from effective combat strategies to advancement in mazes. There’s a lot of thoughtfulness and mindfulness going on. The least appealing factor about the series is its reliance on its own tropes, primarily the “Received New Item, No Longer Need to Think about How to Move Forward in the Dungeon” trope. Yeah, when you get the whip, that will make the rest of the dungeon easier and you now know what to use on the boss. Regardless, it’s difficult for me to not appreciate the earnestness with which they deliver that trope. The designers want players to constantly feel like they are mastering the games.
Of course I picked up Skyward Sword as soon as it was made available, or at least as soon as my pre-order arrived in the mail three days after its availability in stores. So eager was I to play that I did not even bother to wait until the next day to pop the disc in and go, despite the fact that my pupils were still dilated from that afternoon’s eye exam. It was Zelda time, and I needed to experience the new addition to its world. Skyward Sword didn’t disappoint in the areas where it needed to remain strong, and it brought new experiences to the table. Read the rest of this entry